This is Andalusia’s signature dish.
- 4 ounces of day old bread (a 2 ½-inch cube) with the crusts removed
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 pounds of ripe tomatoes (5-6 medium tomatoes). Seeded
- ¼-teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/3- cup olive oil, preferably extra virgin
- 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
- 1 ½ cups water
For the Condiments / Garnishes:
- Chopped green pepper
- Chopped onion
- Chopped cucumber
- Croutons or diced bread, toasted crisp
- Chopped hard boiled egg
- Chopped tomatoes
Put the bread in a bowl and add water to cover. Let soak for 5 minutes until softened. Squeeze out the water and place the bread in a blender container (or, if using a hand-held blender, into a mixing bowl) with the garlic. Blend until the bread and garlic are smooth.
To seed the tomatoes: cut out the stem and core, then cut the tomatoes in half crosswise. Either spoon out the seeds or else squeeze the tomatoes through a sieve placed over a bowl. The seeds will squeeze out and the juice will collect in the bowl. It is then ready to be added to the Gazpacho as pulp.
Add the tomato pulp to the bread and garlic, and puree. Add the cumin and salt and, with the motor running, add the olive oil in a slow stream. As the oil is incorporated, the Gazpacho will turn from red tomato-juice to a paler, peacher colour. Blend in then vinegar. Thin the Gazpacho with water to the desired consistency.
Place the blended contents in a tureen, bowl or pitcher. Chill until serving time.
Place each of the garnishes in separate small bowls or on a divided relish dish and pass them around the table when the Gazpacho is served. Each person can add their desired spoonfuls on to their Gazpacho.
This Gazpacho can also be served, thinned with additional water, in tall glasses for sipping, without the garnishes.
This recipe is taken from Janet Mendel’s newest book about Spanish food and culture which will be published by HarperCollins in 2002.